Buzz Aldrin Lands at Facebook HQ

By David Cohen 

BuzzAldrin650The second man to walk on the moon became one of the first users of the new Facebook Mentions application for public figures, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin also participated in a question-and-answer session at the social network’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Friday.

Aldrin also took a photo in the “anti-gravity” room at Instagram’s offices.

Facebook shared the following highlights from Aldrin’s Q&A in an email to AllFacebook:

Barry Grant: What can we do to get the space program back to where it was in the 60s with the emphasis on exploration?

Aldrin: I think we are much smarter now then we were in the 60s, and a fundamental improvement I developed in 1985 was continuous cycling orbits not just between the earth and the moon, but more importantly between the earth and Mars.

Robert McClimon: Hi, Dr. Aldrin. Did you think we should have been on Mars by now?

Aldrin: In 2009, my submission to the Augustine Commission of United Space Vision had the U.S. leading internationals with landing on Mars in 2031. I believe it may take us until just before 2040, which is just two decades from the anniversary of landing on the moon.

Chris Ebler: What did you think of the Orion capsule?

Aldrin: To save weight on the original four segment solid Ares 1, Orion had insufficient fuel to put itself and a lander into lunar orbit as Apollo did, hence lander fuel had to be used making the lander most inefficiently larger and more expensive than it needed to be.

Derik LeMay: What are your thoughts on the Space X program?

Aldrin: Innovation and young, fresh thinking has resulted in a much needed challenge to the old standbys.

Jason Nolan: What’s your favorite sandwich?

Aldrin: Is a quesadilla a sandwich?

Kyle Jones: Mr. Aldrin, I know it’s not about the future of the space program, but can you tell us a little about your training in Bryan, Texas?

Aldrin: The “Maytag” Mustang T-28 was a great trainer. However, without a G-suit, I attempted a double Immelmann. I completely passed out and awoke heading for the state of Texas with two controls in each hand. Fortunately, I had the intuitive reaction to pull back on both of them.

Kevin Abbate: My father worked on General Dynamics’ Manned Mars proposal. I actually held a copy of it in my hands. In the very beginning, it talked about the need for a new form of propulsion to cut down on the travel time. Do you see our program coming of age in this area?

Aldrin: If you’re going to spend the rest of your life on Mars, why be in such a hurry to get there? Dual synodic period cyclers may carry three landers with six crewmen each to the surface of Mars.

Dan Carey: Will it be better to send older or younger people to settle on Mars? (At least at first?)

Aldrin: A mix of ages would be best.

Pete Glastonbury: My 15-year-old daughter wants to know if she could be working on Mars by remote control in the future?

Aldrin: According to an eminent controller of Mars orbiters from Earth, the traverses of Spirit and Opportunity in five years could have been accomplished in one week by human intelligence in orbit around Mars.

Charles Gildart: Wish you had more serious questions? My dad worked on the Persian missile guidance system. You knew him. Is any of that technology still valid and in use today with modern rockets?

Aldrin: I enjoyed having Charlie as a roommate at West Point. Very conscientious, and his wife has written many children’s books. Every step in missile guidance evolution contributes to the safety of the U.S.

Readers: What did you think of Aldrin’s visit to Facebook?